Know your audience well, but have a commercial outlook as well: Angus Fletcher

With over 20 years of experience as an executive in the global media business, Angus Fletcher has touched every aspect of children’s and family programming. He has won the British Academy Award (BAFTA) and his programmes have won numerous awards including Canada’s Geminis and US Int’l Emmys. Fletcher was also president of the Jim Henson Television Group; the home of puppetry, Muppets, Sesame Street, The Hoobs and many others. Fletcher is also working with famous media names like Toonz Animation India, The Flying Circus, Cosmic Pictures and many others. Fletcher’s works and the projects he was involved with have been aired by all the major broadcasters and channels across the globe. He has been the advisory board and jury of all major global events, including Kidscreen, USA and Mipcom, Cannes. Besides being a splendid writer, analyst and strategist, Fletcher is a captivating orator. AnimationXpress.com got Angus (IP development guru) talking about the upcoming Animation Masters Summit organized by Toonz Animation and here is what he had to say… Excerpts:- What is the session that you will be taking at the Master’s Summit and what are the points that you will be covering? I will be talking about ideas and stories and how we can develop them well. We will also look at how such ideas can be presented and pitched to potential buyers. I very much hope everyone will talk a lot during our session and to that end will be dividing the room into groups so that each may create a simple idea and then present it to the others. My hope is that we all learn something from each other… and have some fun! What are the things that you expect to see at a gathering of such proportions? I hope to see a great range of people, skills and expertise representing the whole range of the great Indian animation business. It is a great opportunity for me to meet and hear from great people in India. (I can hear from my colleagues in Europe every day!). I feel sure I will hear from great creative voices and see beautiful work. These two days will be a fantastic opportunity for me! How does it feel to be a ‘Master’? What tips or advice would you give young film makers who will be coming down or might miss out on the event? I am hugely flattered to be considered a ‘master’ of anything… my children were very impressed! My only hope is that this ‘master’ will learn from this terrific event. As for advice, really understand the story you are going to tell and then be clear as to how you are going to tell it. Story, character, emotion, outlook, worldview all come before drawing and design. What you want to say must come before how you want to say it. Make sure you understand the world within which you are working; know your audience and what they want. A commercial outlook on your work is not at odds with a creative outlook. A commercial view implies an understanding of the market within which you want to play, be that the art house festival circuit, feature film business or mainstream kids’ television series. What are your views on the current scene in the animation industry in India? How can it be bettered? The India industry is one that is bursting with excitement and opportunity. There are significant advantages in terms of cost and scale, but these must be set against skills and opportunities in the rest of the world. The kids’ media business, of which animation is one part, is a global business and the most successful producers in India recognise this. No one country dominates the business and as cost pressures around the world increase, India will become even more important. The Indian animation business has contracted over the last few years and those companies which are left are more sophisticated and global than ever before. They will need creative talent that is well versed in global creative standards and can compliment the great skills on offer in India. What are the skills sets that young artists/film makers/animators must possess to make a mark in this competitive environment? A sense of character, story and pace is of course extremely important but being able to apply these elements in a unique fashion is what will make an individual stand out and properly make a mark. The world in which we all operate requires each and everyone to understand in some depth the business and the market. You can only respond to a world by understanding that world.
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